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Sierra Leone’s Chief Innovation Officer to participate in BBC CrowdScience Debate

Dr. David Moinina Sengeh, Sierra Leone’s Chief Innovation Officer, will participate in BBC’s CrowdScience debate on the theme: “Can digital technology transform West Africa?”. The debate will be held at the British Council Tower Hill Auditorium in Freetown on Friday 24 January at 5:00 PM. This is part of national activities planned by the Government of Sierra Leone as part of the International Day of Education 2020.

Joining Dr. David Moinina Sengeh in the debate on how artificial intelligence is changing West Africa is Dr. Chika Yinka- Banjo from the University of Lagos and Ms. Nyalleng Moorosi from Google Artificial Intelligence in Ghana. These experts will explore how robots, drones, and machine learning tackle issues in agriculture, education, health, and governance in the sub-region.

BBC CrowdScience is a radio show that takes questions about life, Earth, and the Universe to researchers hunting for answers at the frontiers of knowledge. This will be the first of such debates held in Sierra Leone. Entrance for this event is free with registration. 

Crowd science opens up pathways for pursuing unconventional research ideas, blurs the boundaries between institutional science and civil society, provides opportunities for volunteer engagement in science, and enriches science communication. Crowd science also raises questions concerning data-driven approaches to scientific discovery as well as the development of mechanisms for automated quality assurance and feedback.

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Sierra Leone’s leading agencies for data, innovation sign MoU for knowledge ​sharing

The Directorate Of Science, Technology, & Innovation (DSTI) has signed a MoU with Statistics Sierra Leone (Stats-SL) to formalize ongoing collaborations on projects of national significance. The two agencies were lauded by the Minister of Planning, and Economic Development (MOPED), Mrs. Nabeela Tunis for combining their expertise for the advancement of the State.  

Dr. David Sengeh (l) CIO, DSTI, Madame Nabeela Tunis, Minister of Planning & Economic Development (MOPED), Prof. Osman Sankoh, Stats-SL, Mr. Robert Chakanda Dep. Minister, (MOPED)

“DSTI and Stats-SL are already implementing terms within the MoU showing their commitment to providing the Ministry of Planning with necessary data to make policies that will have a measurable impact on the lives of Sierra Leonean citizens,” said Mrs. Tunis.   “It is clear that there are minimal overlaps, meaning that the collaboration is efficient. The Ministry of Planning welcomes and supports this partnership.” The MoU is a commitment by both agencies to share information, and knowledge that will strengthen the problem-solving capacity of statisticians and data scientists at both organizations. “I already know this is a true partnership because even before DSTI showed any results using data we shared, they came to us to present the information. We jointly asked research questions and provided input into the analyses, ” said Prof. Osman Sankoh, Sierra Leone’s Statistician General. ”That’s what true partnership is about!”

Prof. Osman Sankoh, Statistician General (l) and colleagues with Dr. David Sengeh (r), Chief Innovation Officer, Directorate of Science, Technology & Innovation

The two agencies have made inroads on projects ranging from an integrated national GIS solution to map government services and an interactive education dashboard that will allow policymakers to see how different indicators and facilities affect learning outcomes across the country. Mr. Robert Chakanda, Deputy Minister, MOPED, provided guidance and leadership to DSTI, and Stats-SL to ensure that projects are in line with the national agenda. By sharing data, Stats-SL enables the Data for Decision Making pillar of DSTI Sierra Leone. This partnership also further strengthens the innovation ecosystem across government and international development partners. “This is essentially a Memorandum of Action because DSTI and Stats-SL have already been working together on several projects and developed prototypes together,” said Dr. David Sengeh, Chief Innovation Officer, DSTI. “I hope that we continue to share not just data, but also the knowledge that will drive Sierra Leone’s development through action.” President Julius Maada Bio commissioned the  Directorate of Science, Technology, and Innovation in October this year. One mandate of DSTI is to transform Sierra Leone into an innovation nation.
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